Mattress Factory

Mattress Factory
Mattress Factory

The Mattress Factory
Established 1977
Location Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The Mattress Factory is a museum of contemporary art located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. It exhibits room-sized installation art by regional, national and international artists.

The Mattress Factory is named for its gallery buildings, housed since 1977 in the former Stearns & Foster mattress factory and warehouse buildings at 500 Sampsonia Way in the Mexican War Streets area of Pittsburgh's Central Northside.

Currently, the Mattress Factory receives about 38,000 visitors per year.[1]



In 1975, the Mattress Factory acquired 500 Sampsonia Way, formerly a mattress warehouse built at the turn of the century.[2] The Mattress Factory became a legal non-profit educational and cultural corporation in 1977, and the museum's first exhibition of installation art opened five years later on May 8, 1982.[2]

From the mid-1980s to the early 1990s, the Mattress Factory acquired more properties for various purposes, including[2]:

  • 1414 Monterey Street, which became a new gallery space
  • Two buildings on North Taylor Street that became artist residences
  • 505 Jacksonia Street, which is now used as a parking lot for museum visitors, and the adjacent lot, which now houses Winifred Lutz's Garden Installation, 1993

Mission statement

The Mattress Factory is a research and development lab for artists. As a museum of contemporary art, it commissions new site-specific works, presents them to the widest possible audience and maintains selected individual installations in a growing - and distinctive - permanent collection. The Mattress Factory's physical and organizational environments have developed out of and responded to a central focus in the creative process.[3]

Permanent exhibitions

The Mattress Factory hosts 16 continuous, permanent installations.[1] The following is a short list of artists who have permanent displays at the Mattress Factory[4]:

William Anastasi

  • Trespass, 1991
  • January 13, 1989, 10 minutes, 6B, 1989
  • April 15, 1989, 32 minutes, 4B, 1989

Chicago Collaboration

  • A Collaboration, 1993

Jene Highstein

  • Untitled installation, 1986

Rolf Julius

  • Ash, 1991
  • Red, 1996
  • Music for a Garden, 1996

Yayoi Kusama

  • Infinity Dots Mirrored Room, 1996
  • Repetitive Vision, 1996

Greer Lankton

  • It's all about ME, Not You, 1996

Winifred Lutz

  • Garden Installation (on-going), 1993

James Turrell

  • Catso, Red (1967), 1994
  • Pleiades, 1983
  • Danaë, 1983

Allan Wexler

  • Bed Sitting Rooms for an Artist in Residence, 1988

Bill Woodrow

  • Ship of Fools: Discovery of Time, 1986


The Mattress Factory is known for its groundbreaking forays into the world of social media.[5] The museum's new media initiative, Friendship v2.0, "encourages [visitors] to continue the discussion about art within [their] own social networks and Internet communities".[6] Platforms include a blog, MF iConfess, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Foursquare, Last.FM, and the Mattress Factory Channel on YouTube.

In April 2009, the Mattress Factory became the first museum in the United States to use QR codes as a visitor engagement tool.[7] In an attempt to reduce the quantity of printed gallery guides the Mattress Factory produces, they have placed several of these codes throughout the museum. Each code links to different information; some access video of artists talking about the piece the visitor is viewing or video of the artist installing the work, some display still images and background information, while others contain short anecdotal text messages about the pieces they are near.[8] All content is viewed on visitors' 3G mobile phones with a camera and bar code-reading application. In September 2009, the Mattress Factory shared their experimental process with other arts organizations by publishing a 4-step guide to creating "Do It Yourself" QR codes on the museum's blog.[9]



External links

Coordinates: 40°27′25″N 80°00′44″W / 40.45702°N 80.012337°W / 40.45702; -80.012337

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